Grieving loss of my soulmate

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-13-2013
Grieving loss of my soulmate
Wed, 02-13-2013 - 11:25am

My husband had an affair twice with the same woman.  The first time, we were in a very bad spot in our relationship when he had the affair.  Not that this excuses the affair, but I could see how it happened.   He also admitted it when I confronted him.  This last time, he lied when confronted and it happened after I thought we had made progress in repairing our relationship.   Still, once it came to light, he seemed as though he finally understood the devastation and has made a great effort to change.  When I ask him to jump, he will jump until I ask him to stop.  It had been a year and a half since "D-Day."  Once I found out the second time, I threw myself into my work while I waited to see his level of commitment.  Now, I am just coming up for air, so to speak.  And I am beginning to work through all these emotions.

I have made the decision to stay - or, at least I want to stay.  But I am having a very hard time getting over my grief for what I have lost.  I have been in counselling for 2 months and am on an anti-depressant now. 

I have lost my soulmate.  My husband was my emotional support for painful experiences in my life, such as the loss of my father.  I felt as though we shared each others pain and triumphs.  But now, there is part of me that I can never share with him.  Sure, he understands that he caused this pain.  We have talked exhaustively about it.  But it isn't something he can completely share because he is the cause of it.  And it wasn't an accident - he consciously and intentionally made a choice that he knew would cause pain.  So, I still have my best friend, but I have lost my soulmate. 

I am reaching out to this group, trying to find help in dealing with this grief.  What have you found that helps with this pain, this loss?  What was your "ah-ah" moment that let you move past your grief and find joy in your partner again?  I am really struggling.  I want to stay with my husband, but I am mourning my loss.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-09-2008
Thu, 02-14-2013 - 5:18pm

It IS grief we feel when we learn our partner has cheated, and the trust issue is painfully difficult to re-establish - and it's all HIS to do, by the way.  What do you mean when you say "I can see how it happened" first time around?  Because you're right, nothing does excuse an affair - there is no excuse or reason on earth that actually works.  They really do make a conscious decision to betray, although I believe now that in the moment they aren't thinking about betrayal because they aren't thinking with their BRAIN, but with another part of their anatomy - gets that crotch twitching.  You have to allow yourself TIME, because the pain doesn't just go away easily, it's like pulling your teeth out one at a time, without anesthesia.  I read years ago the AVERAGE is about 3 years from the ending of an affair before a partner truly begins to put things behind them.  And....if they screw up again in the middle of that 3 years, they will "start the clock all over again", as my past therapist phrased it, and which I have found to unfortunately be very true.  I think there's usually a great deal of anger an affair brings to the betrayed partner, and anger almost always has some other emotion underneath it - for me, it's fear and pain (I call "pain" an emotion these days, since I don't really know what other word to replace it with).  We can be so afraid he's just going to just keep doing it.  First time around we hope and hope and hope that no, he won't.  Second time around it's so easy to just expect a third, fourth, whatever.  Ask yourself a question I now ask MYSELF:  was it really all that great to begin with?  Because in my case I'm pretty sure it really was NOT that great all along, I just romantacized it into more than it was right from the start, so nowdays I'm asking myself what is it I'm thinking I LOST????  I'm going to be talking to my new therapist about that, that maybe part of me staying stuck is I've looked at it somewhat "wrong" all these years, maybe we never DID have a terrific relationship, so what is it I'm feeling I've lost so badly?  I think the truth is when our partner cheats, if we choose to stay, anyhow, we have to start over, and we need to do it with professional help because it's just too damned confusing to try any other way.  We really aren't equipped to get into the heart of it by ourselves, that's what therapists are out there for.  You feeling there are things you can now never share with your DH points to the trust problem he's created, something we all have to battle.  I understand wanting to stay, even though every time they walk thru the door they're actually a reminder - a reminder that they are the cause of the pain you're feeling.  It's a tough spot to find yourself in.  He needs to offer to do counseling, too - he has no excuse not to and you both need to learn to trust that he is able to establish solid boundaries from now on, and it needs to be very specific boundaries he can VERBALIZE.  Otherwise boundaries are just loose things hanging in the air with no real meaning to you.  He needs help just as you do.  It's true, he did it even though he was totally aware you'd be hurt by it, and that means while he cheated you didn't matter.  Insist he go to counseling, too - this is all his to fix, your job right now is to try to get your OWN head on straight so you make a solid decision for yourself.